Will E-books Equal Bare Bookshelves Some Day?

   By drodriguez  Sep 18, 2011

A recent SheSpeaks poll reveals that many of our members have stepped into the age of e-books with more than 20% saying they use an e-reader (like the Kindle), a smartphone, or tablet to get their lit-fix. E-readers seem to be the most popular among our members with almost 14% preferring this format.

If you ever thought the growing popularity of e-books could one day equal bare bookshelves, you may not be so off the mark. A New York Times report reveals a dramatic decrease in the sale of mass market paperbacks (those inexpensive little books that can just about fit in your back pocket) and blames e-books for taking a lot of revenue away from this format.

The Association of American Publishers released a survey last month that shows mass-market paperback sales have fallen a whopping 14% since 2008. Literary agent, David Gernert, comments on the decline of these paperback sales, “Five years ago, it was a robust market. Now it’s on the wane, and e-books have bitten a big chunk out of it.”

The penny-pinchers among us, who have found that the e-book edition is released sooner than a mass-market paperback and costs about the same, have welcomed the e-book format with open arms.

Book traditionalists have no fear, with almost 80% of our members still preferring hard covers and paperbacks we probably won’t see our “good old-fashioned” books disappearing any time soon. But at the same time, the convenience of e-books are only gaining in popularity among readers.

Do you think the decline of mass-market paperbacks means we may also see a similar decline in the sale of hard covers and trade paperbacks?

Tell us how you read books!

Make a Comment

Bearyunique by Bearyunique | Southington, OH
Sep 20, 2011

I do not think you will see a decline in hard covers or trade books. An author can not sign an e-reader and many readers have favorite writers that would love an autographed book. Hard covers make great gifts. I bought a Nook Color for magazines and paperback books, just to save the environment of paper. It will not change the way I purchase hard covers those are for keeps.

aeryka310 by aeryka310 | Sharonville, OH
Sep 19, 2011

i mostly use my ipad to read books but for my absolute favorite books, i like the keep a physical book (that way, i know i have something to do if something happens and there's no power for a day or two and my ipad dies on me). i also think physical books are so important for kids, so i have 1 or 2 ebooks for my daughter and that's only for when we're in waiting rooms and such.

TheJessicaBaker01 by TheJessicaBaker01 | Norcross, GA
Sep 19, 2011

I ove reading a good paperback book! Sometimes you just can't beat curling up on a couch and in your bed with a good paperback book! But I do think that an e-reader would be good if your traveling, especially at night. But I won't ever stop buying paperbacks because I like them so much more!

trsssm by trsssm | Lima, OH
Sep 19, 2011

I love the feel of a book and to actually SEE the cover etc, but its so much easier for me to just upload it to my Kindle and go. I always have my Kindle with me in my purse and I love that so I always have reading with me at all times, so yes its a possibility electronic books may rule some day.

dorothygail by dorothygail | MANKATO, KS
Sep 19, 2011

I love my e-reader. It is what I use 75% of the time. However, I have favorite authors that will always have a place on my bookshelf.

1shoppingmama by 1shoppingmama | Albuquerque, NM
Sep 18, 2011

If you had asked me if ebooks would replace paper books a year ago I'd have said no way. Today, though, I'd have to say there is a real possibility that one day paper books will go the way of records and cassette tapes. My husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday this year and I am head over heels in love with it! I love being able to get books anytime I want while still in my pj's. The Kindle is easier to hold and read than a regular book and it's so easy to take with me everywhere! I love that as my eyes get tired late at night I can just increase the font on the screen and I can keep reading. :D Somehow paper books just seem so antiquated now.

Peggysue by Peggysue | San Jacinto, CA
Sep 18, 2011

As the owner of a Kindle, which I have yet to really use; I think I may have made an error in purchasing it. I am still reading my paper backs, and I have a great used book store in my town that I would hate to see close. I don't have to read a book as it comes out and I hate to pay the price on my Kindle of a new book. I wait until it comes down in price due to being on the market a while. I also have a lot of friends I can trade books with and keep them moving to other friends. There is something to be said about holding the actual book. I'm afraid e-books will be our future very soon.

Shelbyk96 by Shelbyk96 | Shrewsbury, MA
Sep 18, 2011

This topic has been a common one in my book club. I belong to a small one and 2 of our members have e-readers. Personally, I like the "feel" of a book in my hands and I enjoy browsing the library or the bookstore for something new. While I do feel the e-reader could definitely come in handy in certain situations, I don't think regular books will ever go away.

Texmel by Texmel | COLORADO SPGS, CO
Sep 18, 2011

I do love holding a book in my hand; but unless it is something I absolutely love I don't usually purchase it. I take my son to the library at least twice a week; we both put things on hold that we would like to read then check them out. I would love a Kindle at some point but we also REALLY love our library; and our whole family was saddened at the recent closing of our favorite bookstore, Borders.

Tahoe38 by Tahoe38 | Parker, CO
Sep 18, 2011

I think we'll still have books. The ereader technology hasn't gotten to where it's common where everyone has one. Someday they might be as common as microwaves, but I think it will be a while before that happens.

cherlygirlie by cherlygirlie | Jobstown, NJ
Sep 18, 2011

I have a Kindle and I thought I would miss holding a book and turning pages, but I don't and the space it saves on my bookshelves is fantastic! No more books gathering dust here! My 14yo just got one too and my 10yo uses the kindle app on his ipad

momtomany106 by momtomany106 | melbourne, FL
Sep 18, 2011

Yes.. more people are on the go with their families and travel so e books will make it easier so talk along with technology.

JmeJ06 by JmeJ06 | LUBBOCK, TX
Sep 18, 2011

If I do not know how much I will like the book I go ahead and get it for my e-reader. There are some books though that I just have to have an actual paper bound copy of. Curling up with a paperback is still more enjoyable than an e-reader.

Lisaw060395 by Lisaw060395 | New Whiteland, IN
Sep 18, 2011

Currently I ready my books by books themselves. I am very interested in a kindle or whatever kind but the expense is more than I want to spend.

LindaPapp by LindaPapp | Henderson, NV
Sep 18, 2011

Eventually, I think that will happen, but now many people like a hard copy. I can buy paperback books at yard sales and even at brick and mortar stores for less than I pay for an ebook. Also, some of the children's book covers are picture frame worthy. And what would happen to story time?